The first of many "We Won the War!" books on Iraq

A Chance in  Hell: The Men Who Triumphed Over Iraq's Deadliest City and Turned the  Tide of War is the first of many books likely to be published in the coming years that explain why our brigade/battalion/company won the war in Iraq.

So, how true is it for this book? Well the 1st Armored Division Brigade that was sent to Ramadi in 2006 probably has as good a claim as anyone.  The fighting in Anbar Province in 2005-2006 was a strategically losing proposition for the U.S.  The mostly hostile Sunni population was providing an active "sea" for Al Qaeda "fish" to swim in and U.S. forces seemed to be taking endless casualties by IEDs with no sense of victory in sight.

Enter a fairly inconsequential Sunni tribal sheik, weary of Al Qaeda's extremism with an offer to fight for the Americans and PRESTO CHANGO, the rest, they say, is history.

The book moves at a pretty fast pace, while conveying a sense of the high-risk effort undertaken by the soldiers, Marines, SEALs, etc that teamed up with Sunni tribesmen to defeat Al Qaeda and begin to turn Anbar Province into a success by late 2007.  The independent thinking of the officers and NCOs of the brigade is fascinating to watch as they thread a fine line between the U.S. military command in Baghdad, the diplomatic and political landmines in Baghdad and Washington and the politics and squabbles of the various tribes seeking favor with the Americans as the Surge begins in 2007 and the tide of battle begins to turn against the extremists.

Anbar was considered a lost cause in 2006.  These remarkable troops made a big difference in the effort to turn things around.  Did they turn the tide of the war?  Maybe.  Did they change the narrative, think outside the box and win a classic counter-insurgency struggle?  Most definitely, and their story needs to be told.